Shops adopt ‘ra­tioning’ pol­icy to fes­tive mu­sic

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

IT CAN be un­bear­able… Stop the Cav­alry, Jin­gle Bells and Lonely This Christ­mas played day af­ter day for weeks in the build-up to the fes­tive sea­son.

But Ash­ford stores and shop­ping cen­tres are spar­ing cus­tomers the or­deal by slowly build­ing up the pro­por­tion of piped Christ­mas mu­sic in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Wilkin­son in the town cen­tre says that only a small per­cent­age of fes­tive mu­sic is played at first, grad­u­ally in­creas­ing to­wards Christ­mas.

The per­cent­age of its Christ­mas mu­sic played is 20 per cent from Novem­ber 7, 33 per cent from De­cem­ber 1 and up to 50 per cent from De­cem­ber 5.

A Wilkin­son spokesman added: “It goes up to its high­est, at 75 per cent, from De­cem­ber 14 and stays at that rate un­til Christ­mas.”

County Square Shop­ping Cen­tre in Ash­ford has a sim­i­lar pol­icy. Com­mer­cial man­ager Fran Burt ex­plained: “The mu­sic is phased in over the pe­riod by per­cent­age. There is noth­ing worse than go­ing to a shop in Septem­ber and lis­ten­ing to Christ­mas mu­sic. Be­sides, at our busiest time at Christ­mas the cus­tomers would hardly hear the mu­sic piped in with all the en­ter­tain­ment go­ing on.”

The is­sue was raised by cus­tomer Ru­vini Hewa, of Park Farm, in re­sponse to an item in the Ken­tish Ex­press about Wilkin­son play­ing piped Christ- mas mu­sic in its Ash­ford store early in Novem­ber.

She praised Wilkin­son and other stores for spar­ing cus­tomers the overkill this year, adding: “By mid-Novem­ber last year I was at the point where my head wanted to ex­plode if I heard Boney M’s Mary’s Boy Child one more time.

“This year shops in the town all seem to have come to a gen­tle­men’s agree­ment not to ram Christ­mas mu­sic down our ears.

She ex­plained: “Play­ing Christ­mas songs in stores be­fore the fes­tive time de­val­ues the re­li­gious oc­ca­sion. Not only does it put un­due pres­sure on fam­i­lies with young chil­dren, but also it cuts down on the feel­ing of ex­cite­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion when it is played of­ten and too soon.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, Kent TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@t hek­m­

Wilkin­son: Slow build-up

Fran Burt: Mu­sic ‘phased in’

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